Phoenix Rising

In January all of my sites got obliterated. I used HostMDS as my webhost because they were inexpensive, but my shoestring approach to site management bit me in the end. The server that my sites were hosted on went down. Although other accounts on the server were recovered, sadly, my sites were not saved. In addition, this webhost’s customer service was awful. Actually, I can’t say that because they really had no customer service strategy. Although they were aware of the severity of the situation, they never reached out to contact me. For a period of one week, I had to keep contacting them to check on the status. Very poor customer experience. And as Peter Merholz indicated, the experience is the product – the experience can make or break who you retain as a customer.

I’ve since switched to DreamHost, particularly liking that they offer an easy way to have Google host your domain email. I realize I could do this myself, but it was a nice built-in feature.

I’ve made it over one hurdle so far: resurrecting old content. The good news is that I made a backup of my database. The bad news is that my last backup was a year ago. Thanks to some tips from Alex King and figaro, I was able to import my old database. And, praise to Google Reader. Fortunately, I subscribed to my own blog feed, so all of my lost posts from this past year are saved via Google’s cache, so I will slowly rebuild old posts while I plan to add new content.

So there may be a few growing pains as I try to fully resurrect the site (and give it a facelift). The moral of the story is to always backup, even on remote servers. But the good news is that WordPress now supports automatic backups.

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Partial Recall: Reloaded

Seven months is too long to go between posts. A lot has happened over the last seven months. As a UX Architect with Blackboard Inc., I am really fortunate to have a job I enjoy. But work life and home life has been pretty demanding, leaving little time to participate in knowledge sharing activities. I find that much of my blogging and “knowledge sharing” energy is focused on writing on our team’s internal blog. And I do see a pattern: the more I tweet, the less I blog. Well, I’d like that to change.

I’ve updated to the newest version of WordPress and am very happy with the results. I even installed a nice little plugin that will render my site in an iPhone-friendly manner. So, with a fresh install, I hope to slowly give the site a well-deserved facelift in the coming months. But my New Year’s resolution is to add more content in 2009.

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Partial Recall Goes Mobile

iPhone

I’ve installed two WordPress plugins developed by Alex King. The first is the “Share This” plugin, which allows readers to save one of my posts to a social bookmarking site or to send a post link via email. This functionality is visible at the end of each blog post. The other plugin, “WordPress Mobile Edition,” is supposed to convert the presentation of this site into mobile-friendly fare. Antoine, is this site relatively mobile-friendly?

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PureEdge on the Mac

Grants.gov has announced the release of the IBM Workplace Forms Viewer (formerly called PureEdge) for Macintosh computers. The software does NOT work on the new Intel Macs. A new version of the software should be released in a month that will work with the new Macs.

This software allows Mac users to download, view and complete PureEdge application packages for submission of proposals via Grants.gov to federal agencies.

How is it working for you?

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Silent Film 2.0

the iconfactory logo

A hilarious tale is unfolding in pixels over at the iconfactory. [hat tip to SimpleBits]. Talk about communicating without words. Simply.Brilliant.

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Convenience Versus Security

Google Logo

Google announced a Firefox plugin on its blog which provides the following ‘syncing’ functionality:

“Google Browser Sync unifies your bookmarks, history, saved passwords, and persistent cookies across all the computers where you install it. It also remembers which tabs and windows you had open when you last closed any of your browsers and gives you a chance to reopen them.”

I think it is important to make life easy for the user. How difficult is it for us to remember websites we visited (and would like to visit again) and the usernames and passwords to access some webtools and services? On top of that there’s the added complexity of information that you may have saved on one computer that does not reside on the other.

I laud Google because they are definitely following their credo, but as investing 101 tells us, diversity, diversify, diversify. It scares me to think that ALL or a vast majority of my online persona is already captured by Google when it stores my search results (I have a Google account), but to add in passwords, cookies and the like, it makes me nervous. Not that Google has any malicious motives, but at the end of the day it is my responsibility to protect myself, not Google’s.

I already enjoy using FoxMarks, a utility for syncing my bookmarks. In fact, I’ve raved about it here. However, it’s one thing to save bookmarks and it’s quite another to save usernames, passwords, and other identifying information.

Am I just being too “big brother” paranoid? What are your thoughts?

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They Have Arrived!

Greetings! It’s been slow posting for me recently since I’ve been focusing much more on some personal issues…I’ll try to get back to posting soon.

In the meantime, on Thursday, October 27, the Fay family welcomed their two little girls into the world. See additional photos here.

Isabel Ann came first, weighing in at 6 lbs 7 oz. and 19.2 inches. She was born at 2:50 pm.

Emily Taylor followed up, weighing in at 6 lbs 4 oz. and 19.2 inches. She was born at 2:52 pm.

Fay Family

Isabel and Emily Fay